Threats to Pakistan could be threat to United States

In the coming decade, US-Pakistan security relations will be more important than any other type of relationship. After Pakistan’s impending elections this year, the US cannot turn a blind eye to engage Pakistan in healing bilateral US-Pak relations, whether the subject is Afghanistan or the TTP. Throughout the past 75 years, both nations have cooperated in a variety of areas, including energy, commerce and investment, health, clean energy, climate, stabilizing Afghanistan, and counterterrorism.

However, many analysts expected that Pakistan would no longer be important to the US after the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan. On the other hand, the US will keep an eye on the strategic alliance in South Asia between China and Pakistan. Just a few days ago, Ned Price, a spokesman for the State Department, reaffirmed the significance of Pakistan, calling it an important or valuable ally of the United States. He continued, many of the threats that Islamabad faces “could well in turn be threats to us”.

This statement comes at a perfect time, as Pakistan has been the target of TTP-led terrorist strikes ever since the Afghan Taliban seized control of that country’s government. Recently, the USA had backed Pakistan’s position about the terrorist attacks that took place there in December 2022. Statement comes from Pakistan, “Pakistan once more strongly denounces terrorists who operate with impunity from Afghan territory to engage in activity inside Pakistan. Kabul was urged by Islamabad to protect the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region and take decisive action against those responsible for terrorism in Pakistan.”

Ned does not, however, give the confirmation regarding the restoration of the security ties between these two nations. In addition, there are still prospects for cooperation in non-security areas despite the negative geopolitical context that results from the U.S. and Pakistan’s close ties to each other’s adversaries (India and China, respectively). Cooperation is still possible when goals and objectives coincide. The extent of Pakistan’s suffering from the war on terror is well known around the world. Former Pakistani Prime Minister Khan explicitly accused the United States of inciting Pakistan to join the War on Terror, which cost over 80,000 lives and caused economic losses of almost $123 billion USD. So, how Pakistan’s sacrifices will be negated by the world power especially USA being its security ally.  In order to prevent security threats to Pakistan from spreading to the USA and the rest of the world, it is important to cooperate with Pakistan on its security issues.

Pakistan has also continued to be a target for the Taliban’s terrorist attacks, whether they are TTP or Afghan Taliban, and Indian participation in destabilizing Pakistan has not gone unnoticed. To reiterate to the global community, Hina Rabbani Khar claimed that Pakistan has evidences that shows Indian involvement in terrorist attacks in Pakistan in the week of December 2022.

No country had used terrorism more effectively than India, she emphasized, and it was clear that India wanted to undermine Pakistan’s peace and security by using terrorism. No country has benefited from it more than India.

Considering Pakistan’s geostrategic location, threats to its security cannot ever be ignored in international politics. Despite having a long and close strategic relationship with India, the US cannot disregard Pakistan due to its geostrategic location, its strategic alliance with China, and its counterterrorism initiatives.

This time, with the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, increasing attacks by TTP if they are allied with the Afghan Taliban, any threat which is targeting Pakistan, would ultimately pose a threat to world security. The United States’ interests in several places of the world, such as the Middle East and Central Asia, could be threatened by terrorists, not just geographically but also politically. Ned’s assertion that Pakistan is a valuable partner of the US is an affirmative statement.

Furthermore, there is cooperation between the US and Pakistan, but it has been more security-focused in recent years, particularly in relation to terrorism, non-proliferation, and Afghanistan.

Asia Maqsood
Asia Maqsood
Asia Maqsood holds a MPhil in Defence and Strategic Studies and a Master's degree in International Relations from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. Asia studied nuclear-related issues at the University of Tennessee. Asia frequently covers China-Pakistan affairs, CPEC, and wider regional issues.